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Activists see red over water purification units

Poornima Nataraj, Bengaluru, May 1, 2015, DHNS: 0:51 IST
Several companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the BBMP for setting up water purification plants. Reuters file photo. For representation purpose
The companies which have set up water purification units in association with Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike are privatising supply of potable water, according to activists.

Several companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the BBMP for setting up water purification plants. The treated water is supplied to the urban poor at Rs five for 20-litre. According to a representative of a company, the Palike provides 40x40 sq feet area for setting up the plant and grants permission to sink a borewell in the area. The water from this borewell is purified through reverse osmosis and ultraviolet filtration process before selling it to the target group.

He said that the company had already set up its purification plants at Peenya, Lingarajpuram, Govindarajanagar, Prakashnagar, Srinivasanagar, Basavanagudi and Jagjeevanram Nagar. As many as 100 more such plants would be set up across the City in the next two years. Five hundred cans of water are being sold at Srinivasnagar plant per day while the one at Lingarajapuram sells 200 cans a day.

Although no study has been conducted on the functioning of these purification plants, Isaac Amrutharaj, the convenor of the Slum Janara Sanghatane smells a rat in the way these plants are coming up in the slum areas.

“Of what I have seen, slum dwellers form 35 percent of the total consumers of drinking water in the City. These people, who have to be ideally provided with free drinking water, are being lured with these purification plants to shell out some amount in order to drink pure water. Many persons have been misusing the purification plants for commercial purpose by selling the water cans to offices and restaurants,” added Isaac.

Kshitij Urs from the People's Campaign for Right to Water says that selling water in the guise of providing pure drinking water to the poor itself is against the right to water of citizens.

“Setting up such plants is like denying the right to free drinking water. Ever since the GBWASP (Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project) was launched to providing water and sanitation to the newly added areas, 12,000 public taps were removed for some unknown reasons. This has only given way to private players to control drinking water too,” he added.

The private company has already been operating over 40 water purification plants in Chitradurga, Tumakuru, Ballari, Raichur, Kolar, Ramnagara, Belagavi and Koppal.

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